FC United take on Rochdale this Friday evening in the FA Cup First Round at Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, kick off 7.45 pm in what will be the biggest game in the Club’s short history. An audience of millions around the world may be watching the game on live TV but Margy will prepare the team no different to any other game.
"We will prepare for the match in the same way as we do for any other night game. The fact it's a Friday night doesn't alter our preparation. We will also play the same way we always have - we go to win. It's the United way - attack is the best form of defence and we won't alter that just because we're playing a team from a higher division. That philosophy served us well in the last round as we went at Barrow from the off and they had no answer."
"There is more interest in this game, so obviously the players may feel more pressure, but I think most of them will rise to it and actually enjoy it. Games like this, in the best cup competition in the world and with all the press attention, are why you play football and why you get involved in the game. So it is something to savour and enjoy, not something to worry about."
"In a way, our players maybe have that extra little bit of experience with dealing with the attention, compared to a lot of other clubs, as they are on FCUMTV every week and people can see the highlights on the internet, and we have such a large fanbase for our league level."
"The buzz word, if we have to have one, for Friday is 'enjoyment'. The players need to go out and enjoy the occasion and the fans will enjoy it regardless of the result. This is the sort of match we have been looking forward to since the club was formed and finally we've made it to the first round proper. Let's celebrate that. Lots of family members and friends will be there and players want to impress those they know, so I think we will raise our game."
"Make no mistake, we won't be just turning up expecting to get beaten. We know they are a good side and we will be massive underdogs. We need to have an outstanding day and they have to have an off day if we are going to get anything from the match, but that can happen."
"It has happened in football from day one, so we will be going into the match relaxed and positive and will do our best to rise to the occasion. Confidence within the squad is at an all time high. We are on a great run and the players are buzzing at the moment. We couldn't have better preparation for the match in terms of our recent form, so who knows what may happen?"
"Just because the match is being shown on television doesn't change the fact the pitch is still the same size and the balls still weigh the same and we still play on grass, so that's the message I'll be putting across to the lads before the match. I have played in front of the cameras myself and will be able to pass on that experience and the biggest advice I can give is to just ignore it all and play your game as you always do. Forget the cameras and concentrate on the match."
"It will be a proud day for all of us. I've never been prouder than seeing the scenes at the end of the Barrow game with everyone hugging each other and celebrating in the stands. It was what we all dream about and we want more of that."
"This bunch of lads are fantastic and its pleasure for me and Roy to work with them. We couldn't ask for better really and that's why I know they have the character to cope with everything that is thrown at them on Friday. They have shown togetherness with the FA Cup bonus scheme by asking that all members of the squad benefit, not just those that play on the day. That says it all to me."
Can they Make it So again?
"Our supporters will be there in force as they always are and will turn it into a home game for us. Maybe it will unnerve the home side slightly, we can only hope. But it will be a big factor having that backing and it cannot be underestimated. This club has come a long way in five years and Friday is our biggest occasion so far. Who would have thought when we were racing against time to get the club formed in 2005 that we would end up in the FA Cup first round live on television? Let's not lose sight of our achievements in all the hype about Friday. We've a lot to be proud of. Let's take the opportunity to let people know what this club is about, both on and off the pitch. The fans are the best advertisement we have, so do your bit and I promise you the players will be doing theirs."
"Let's enjoy it."
Margy on top of the World
The Evo-Stik League Premier Division Managers’ of the Month award for October has gone to Margy in recognition of the excellent run of 6 wins out of 6 in league and cup games throughout the month.
On being notified of the award Margy replied, "It’s an honour, but it is more a recognition of the players who take the field and have put in the effort and application that have brought these results."
The presentation will take place before the FA Trophy game against Hinckley United at Gigg Lane on Saturday 20th November. The other divisional winners were:-
FIRST DIVISION NORTH – Gary Flitcroft – Chorley FC
FIRST DIVISION SOUTH – Simon Clark – Stamford AFC
AGM Call for Fans to "Get us To Ten Acres Lane"
At the AGM on Sunday, the FC United board made an impassioned plea to fans to back the club’s Community Share Scheme. The scheme allows fans to invest in the stadium development and the club hopes it will raise £1.5m of the £3.5m total project cost. Andy Walsh, General Manager, said "The time is now. It is essential that members work hard to get fans they know as well as friends and family to back this scheme. We have come too far down the road to our own stadium to fail at this stage. This is a unique way of fans being involved that will make a real difference to our club and the Newton heath community. Get us there."
Members were asked to "be our sales team" on the shares and they responded by contributing a range of ideas of how this could be done.
For information and application forms go to: www.fc-utd.co.uk/communityshares
Minimum investment: £200 (if you can’t afford this, contact the Club, or join together with others)
Maximum investment £20,000.
Withdrawable after 3 years.
Potential interest after 3 years.
Potential tax breaks for investors.
Reds Ready for Biggest Challenge Yet at Rochdale
Friday sees FC United take part in what is undoubtedly the biggest game since our club’s formation in 2005, as the Reds make their debut in the first round proper of the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON with a short journey to the Spotland Stadium to face League One side Rochdale. Craig Phillips provides this preview...
The Dale are the highest placed opposition the Reds have ever faced competitively by some way with 80 places separating the two sides in the football pyramid. United start the game absolute underdogs but, as with the win over Conference side Barrow in the previous round, manager Karl Marginson will be keen to stress to his players that they have nothing to lose.
Margy will expect his players to play with no fear and will want them to enjoy the occasion as much as the FC United faithful seem determined to do so. Our supporters have already bought an impressive 3,200 tickets for the fixture and the atmosphere from the travelling fans will be imperative to the Reds’ chances of pulling off a huge upset.
FC United come into the game in great form with six consecutive victories which have seen Margy win the Evo-Stik manager of the month award for October. To get to this stage, the Reds have seen off Radcliffe Borough, Gainsborough Trinity, Norton & Stockton Ancients, and of course Barrow.
As a Co-operative Excellence Winner in 2009, it’s also a nice touch for FC United to be visiting Rochdale as it proudly lays claim to being the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement. With nice quirks like that and all the talk of FC United ‘reaching the promised land’ the tie has got a very unique feel to it.
However, Reds of a certain age will remember drawing Rochdale in the FA Cup before. Nearly 25 years ago, in January 1986, the third round of the competition saw Manchester United beat The Dale 2-0 at Old Trafford with goals from Mark Hughes and Frank Stapleton.
Back to this season though and Rochdale find themselves coming into the game suffering from indifferent form. They currently sit 13th in the league, just three points from the play-off places but also just three points from the relegation places, which shows how close the League One table is.
After suffering a 2-1 defeat to Leyton Orient on Saturday, Keith Hill’s men have only recorded one win in their last five league games which has seen them defeated by Bristol Rovers, Yeovil and Exeter. They did record a 3-2 win over Dagenham & Redbridge a couple of weeks ago.
Something which could be of an advantage to FC United is that The Dale host Paul Dickov’s Oldham Athletic in what is sure to be a crunching derby match on Tuesday evening, a game which is may take a bit from the legs of Hill’s men unless he decides to rotate his squad for the two fixtures.
Club captain Gary Jones is The Dale’s top scorer this season having netted seven times this season, and will no doubt be boosted by the club re-signing defender Tom Kennedy whom maybe subject to some banter from the United faithful as he’s the son of Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy.
Another member of the Rochdale staff who has a well known family relation is assistant manager David Flitcroft, who is of course the brother of former Manchester City player Gary Flitcroft.
Rochdale AFC were formed in 1907, although they didn’t actually become a member of the football league until 1921. Although the club have never won a competition since becoming members of the football league in 1921, they have been promoted twice; in 1969 and 2010, and have an amazing record that they share with Hartlepool United of having played 82 consecutive seasons in the Football League without ever having reached the top two tiers, something which Hill is obviously looking at breaking in the not too distant future.
The club has had some good cup pedigree over the years, most notably reaching the 1962 League Cup Final, still being the only club from the bottom division to achieve this feat, before losing 4-0 on aggregate to Norwich City (as the final was played out over two legs in those days).
The past few seasons saw Rochdale knock on the door of promotion under Hill, losing out 3-2 in the play-off final to local rivals Stockport County in 2008, before reaching the play-offs again the following season.
But last season, The Dale ended 36 consecutive seasons in the country’s bottom flight, as they finished third in the league. Despite an amazing loss of form towards the business end of the season which saw them slip off the top of the table, The Dale sealed promotion to League One after beating Northampton Town to take them over the finish line.
On the whole, The Dale have a decent record in the FA Cup having reached the fifth round in 1990 and 1999 losing out to Crystal Palace and Wolves respectively, but they were knocked out of last season’s competition at this stage by non-league opponents as Conference side Luton Town beat them 2-0 at the Spotland in a first round replay after the sides drew 3-3 at Kenilworth Road in the original tie.
Friday’s game is a 7.45pm kick off with hopefully most of the 10,249 seats at the Spotland being occupied for what should make a fantastic atmosphere for what could be a cracking cup tie.